China-Myanmar cooperation overcomes political mishaps

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/11 23:28:40

China and Myanmar signed a crude oil pipeline transmission agreement Monday. The deal is regarded as one of the most significant achievements of Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw's Beijing trip. The pipeline will be running soon, according to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.

Pumping oil 770 kilometers across Myanmar, the pipeline starts from Kyaukpyu and enters China at the border city of Ruili, Yunnan Province. Constructed in 2010 and finished in 2015, the pipeline could not go into operation due to divergences over some details.

Myanmar's political changes have thwarted its economic collaboration with China, bilateral cooperation is still in demand. China-Myanmar collaboration on Letpadaung copper mine project and oil pipeline was restored after a halt. But the Myitsone Dam project is still suspended. Liu claimed that China and Myanmar have reached consensus on the project, but details have not been released yet. The launch of China-Myanmar oil pipeline shows that overall Beijing-Nay Pyi Taw cooperation has been largely restored.

Myanmar fully tilted toward China during the junta era. After the end of military rule, some analysts speculated that Myanmar may swing to the West under the National League for Democracy (NLD), but this did not happen.

Indeed, China-Myanmar economic cooperation had been in hiatus in the past, but Myanmar, with more focus on national and economic interests, is now regarding China as a vital partner for its prosperity. The ruling NLD shoulders the responsibility for developing the country and enhancing people's livelihood, and the NLD government has adopted a practical and friendly China policy. A number of measures have been taken to promote the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Myanmar has witnessed drastic political changes in recent years. Its relationship with China had exposed the fragility of Beijing's international cooperation approaches in the past, but meanwhile proved Beijing's real appeal. China's international cooperation is based on the principle of mutual benefit but has stood the test of external political changes in most cases.

The One Belt and One Road initiative is positively responded by countries along the route. China is sincere in international cooperation, which is based on equality and mutual benefit. Connectivity between China and Myanmar will for sure become closer, and short-term barriers will be gradually eradicated as time goes by.

The oil gateway will provide China with an alternative route to the Malacca Straits to import crude oil, while boosting incomes and creating more job opportunities to Myanmar. The oil pipeline deal benefits both countries.

The China-Myanmar natural gas pipeline has been in use since 2013, but returned meager profits; whether the Myitsone Dam project will be re-launched has also attracted a great deal of attention. At present, both countries have the political will to comprehensively restore their economic cooperation, and should work together to overcome technical problems to improve the China-Myanmar relationship.

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